Last weekend, Julie (KN6AOC) and I hiked up to the Mt Pinos summit, W6/CC-002 at sunset and made some contacts on VHF FM 146.520. Although our phones were indicating 5G coverage on Verizon there, we had no data service and couldn’t spot ourselves. And also unfortunately, none of our contacts had any previous experience with SOTA’s and didn’t know how to spot us. But despite those limitations, we made 5 contacts before the sun passed below the horizon and before our walk down under the stars.Ed Fong DBJ-2 and a 13 foot fiberglass pole. I also brought my Kenwood TH-D72A handheld and spotted myself on APRS.
We made 5 contacts, a couple of which were just over 100 miles away. The closest contact was from Santa Barbara, about 40 miles away. All of the contacts reported excellent voice quality.
This summit is worth 8 points in the SOTA game. In my opinion, it’s only worth 2-3 points because it’s only a 3.6 mile out and back walk with only about 500′ of pretty easy climbing on a fire road. It just seems the point system is a bit skewed.
Even in the middle of the summer, the weather was mild. I had only lightweight pants and a t-shirt. It was chilly, but comfortable on the way back to the truck. We forgot to bring our flashlights and only had some really small lights that clip on to our hats. It was sufficient light, but we really should have been better prepared. We had better lights in the truck, but since we started our hike before dark, we forgot about them!
I later discovered that there’s an APRS station at this summit. I could have spotted myself via APRS to SOTA. Looking back at this trip, I recognize that although we successful, there were several things we could have done better. Each time we do one of those activations, we learn something new. Doing summit activations has helped us tremendously in emergency communications and overall preparedness.